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Before we go any further, let me assure you this review is chocked FULL OF SPOILERS!! I’ve tried doing it without spoilers, but the sheer awesomeness of this episode is impossible to fully explain without SPOILERS!!! So with that in mind, here’s what I thought of Sherlock: The Final Problem!

The opening scene, (not the pre-credit sequence with the little girl on the plane) filled me with so much giddiness and joy I cannot describe it using mere words. Mycroft Holmes (Mark Gattiss finally getting a chance to shine!) is at home and in a rare glimpse of humanity is watching his favourite movie while enjoying a good whiskey. The film cuts out and is interspersed with cryptic messages and he hears noises and voices. Cue a glorious sequence of horror tinged interruptions, clowns, small girls with pig tails. But it is all a massive ruse by “brother mine”, Sherlock Holmes.

Sherlock is not best pleased that Mycroft has been hiding the existence of their younger sister, Eurus (a phenomenal Sian Brooke). Now to be fair to the older sibling, he did it to protect not only his brother but the world in general as Eurus is gifted, and indeed so gifted she could destroy the known world in a matter of minutes. When asked how good she is, Mycroft matter of factly states that she is“the type of person that was on Twitter for an hour and stopped two terrorist attacks. She’s that good.”

The show kicks off in a literally explosive manner as while in 221B Baker Street, Sherlock, Mycroft and the long suffering Dr. John Watson are querying what to do about Eurus and to try and find out what is truth and what is not. A drone bearing an eerie rendition of a childhood verse finds its way up the stairs and the drone contains a grenade using a motion sensor. Any movement and its Bye Bye Birdie. The boys decide to wait until Mrs. Hudson is out of harm’s way before acting. And this is the first of many emotional decisions that are made over the course of the show.

Drone grenade explodes and our boys trek out to Sherringford, a prison in the middle of the sea. Like Alcatraz meets Arkham Asylum. We finally see Eurus in her true form, long haired, wide eyed and down a long corridor behind reinforced “glass”, shades of Silence Of The Lambs. She gets inside Sherlock’s head and we are treated to flashbacks of the three Holmes children. Then the action picks up.

Through other flashbacks, we are given one more glorious glimpse of James Moriarty (a scene stealing, Andrew Scott.) And it is incredibly hard to hate any man that turns up in a chopper to the strains of I Want To Break Free. The cinema audience were very appreciative and met his appearance with rapturous applause. He is here to see Eurus, for a short but pivotal five minutes “completely unsupervised” as a special treat from Mycroft. And the seeds of The Reichenbach Fall, and indeed the whole Sherlock saga are sewn. A wonderful example of long term story-telling and masterful writing.

Eurus puts the three boys into various moral quandaries which threaten the lives of both innocent and guilty people. The result of these tests still result in death but one in particular stands out. Sherlock has to convince Molly Hooper to say “I love you” in order to save her life, he succeeds and it turns out that her life was never in danger, Eurus just wanted to mess with him. A wonderful scene and opens so many worms.

It all leads up to Sherlock finally finding out what happened to his beloved childhood pet, Redbeard. The action and the maze of tests leads the consulting detective back to his childhood home, Musgrave. And it is here we discover that Eurus was behind all of it, the girl on the plane was just a metaphor for her fear and isolation and the little girl’s voice was her pleading with her brother for attention. Redbeard was actually a childhood friend who was left to die in a nearby well in a fit of jealousy by Eurus. And everything comes full circle.

A mysterious dvd turns up to Dr. Watson’s home, containing the title, Miss You. Holmes and Watson watch it and it is Mary Watson. She serves as a recap of what happened since the arrest of Eurus, her subsequent incarceration and where the rest of the characters wind up. In the ending monologue she describes “her boys” beautifully. “A junkie detective who solves crimes to get high and the doctor who never came home from the war.”

Part horror, part thriller with some killer lines and great performances all round. Not quite sure if it is all over and we will never see 221B Baker Street again. But if it was indeed goodbye and goodnight, it was a wonderful send off.


Written by thepanch

January 16, 2017 at 12:01 pm

Auf Wiedersehen, Twat!!

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Brown Ale, Brian Johnson, Alan Shearer, Mark Knopfler, Jimmy Nail. All things associated with and generally loved about Newcastle. Alas, all good things must come to an end, and in this case that love has been well and truly “bished” and “boshed” by Geordie Shore: Magaluf Madness. Reality television these days has lost its way somewhat. No longer a study in social interaction and human behaviour, it has morphed into a well oiled, structured machine, which in turn has a nasty habit of creating instant hate figures.

Any spoilt, snot nosed kid from My Super Sweet 16, the last four seasons of Big Brother and the twins of trouble, Jedward, however, they all pail in comparison to the cretins that inhabit MTV’s version of Newcastle. The show opens with a VT of the “stars”, a word that has as well lost all meaning. In these videos the tone of the show and their intelligence are shown.

“I’d never kiss a guy who didn’t have a six pack” – Charlotte-Letitia. The hyphen denotes an idiot before she oven opens her mouth, her parents must be rushing for copies of the show to throw around their neighbours coffee mornings. The guys do not fare much better. “I should have a degree in pulling birds.” – Gary. Come to the front of the queue, Gaz. No awards for “pulling birds” but I have several for being a twat, bring your polish.

The show follows our intrepid heroes as they have a week, sponsored by the licence fee I hasten to add, in Magaluf as they do what most people their age do on holidays I suppose. Drink, party, pull, drink, pull, party, drink, oh yes and a healthy dose of pettiness, backstabbing and regrettable drunken fumbles. All of which seem a tad fabricated. Case in point, Charlotte (I refuse to type a hyphen again) says she doesn’t “even like Gary”, despite mentioning his name in every second sentence, and slowly making his name her favourite word in the world.

This sorry back and forth drags for the entire two shows and they come off as morons. She says no, he persuades her, she relents, he shows no interest come the morning, she cries, and says “never again, he is a p****, that is it I will not be used ever again”…. until the following night. Jesus wept.

Jay, the most idiotic it has to be said spends every waking moment without a top on and talking nonsensical rubbish about “birds…drink and tan”. Yes, folks all the boys use spray tan extensively. Mind you, I can’t see where they find the time in the day spending five hours in the gym. If you thought Top Gun had some pretty strong homoerotic undercurrents, you clearly have not seen this show where both Gary and James repeatedly slap Jay on his bum, while wearing very little clothes. Shame Kenny Everett wasn’t around…..

I just noticed I have spent most of this column chewing this show out for being terrible, and yet I still watch it. I know, I know the irony of it all, and a lot of it has been focused on the boys. Jealous much, James? Not really, I’m sure if I put my mind to it I could be that much of a twat. Now…. the girls.

Charoltte uses a hypen in her name, in my book that instantly makes me dislike you. Holly spends most of the show embarrassing herself and her poor boyfriend back home. But they have an “agreement.” Doubtful…. Sophie and Vicky seem the most sensible, and as such are singled out by the others. Obviously free speech and independent thought is not a trait welcomed by certain women in Newcastle. If you haven’t seen the show, please do. The show has finished now, but you could probably catch it on I beg of you, please do.

In the interim, any thoughts on what I write here, please feel free to mail me on I do welcome feedback, positive or negative. Bring it all on, dear readers. And next month I am starting a column next week entitled “Movies That Are Vastly Over-Rated”, first on the chopping block? Gone With The Wind. Because, “Frankly, I don’t give a damn… pet!”




Written by thepanch

September 7, 2011 at 3:23 pm

Dead Air

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This paper’s history columnist, Ian Devin and I share a common dream. Yes, readers a simple, common dream. And that is the dream of a zombie outbreak. In these times of the “rapture” and the world supposedly ending, that dream could be further within our grasps. Until then, I can recommend the new television show that began last Monday on Network 2. AMC’s The Walking Dead, (Network 2, Mondays, 9.55pm) in which the lucky inhabitants of a sleepy town are realising our dream….. The absolute swines.

Andrew Lincoln, who you will recognise as Egg from This Life and that teacher from Teachers, plays Sheriff Rick Grimes. He and his partner, Shane Walsh (played by Jon Bernthal) head out a deserted road to bust some bad guys. The arrest ends badly and Grimes receives a shotgun blast which renders him comatose. The series begins with Grimes reawakening in his hospital bed. However, it is not full of patients, nurses or doctors. But he is not alone.

The series follows Grimes and his attempts to track down his wife and son who were caught up in the zombie outbreak. He meets up with more survivors and they form a motley cure that must learn to co exist while all the while dealing with each other’s neurosis, problems and issues. The only way to deal with a zombie outbreak is to fight amongst each other and expose yourselves to the undead hordes…. Right?

I am not saying anymore, as it is as you read this, one week into the eight week run on Network 2. But it was written by Frank Darabont, and is based on the graphic novel series of the same name. Having read the novels, the series does a great job of transferring over well and adding the required layers for real life characters. The show is produced by American TV company AMC, the same company behind the masterful Mad Men. Yet another sublime American import which I can highly recommend.

So if you like zombies, paranoid friends, tense encounters and the beautiful sight of Egg from This Life shooting a weird zombie child in the face, this is the show for you! To catch up on the last week’s and find out what’s going on before next Monday, use our national broadcaster’s fantastic catch up service on their website:

Space Is The Place!!

 I couldn’t let this issue go without mentioning the late, great Macho Man Randy Savage. The man, who for most guys my age was, along with Hulk Hogan was pro wrestling in the mid 80’s and 90’s. He died on Friday the 20th of April when his jeep veered off of a Florida road and he was killed instantly. I received the news just before a gig, and I went home to watch his match with Ric Flair at Wrestlemania VIII. Savage was fantastic; the man still makes me laugh when I watch his promos. He will be sadly missed by wrestling fans, and indeed fans of popular culture. I’ll leave you with my favourite Macho Man promo:

“180 degrees!!! 360 degrees! I’m a chameleon, yea! The beat goes on, the beat goes on, yea! Sugar is sweet, and so is The Macho Man. Ohhh, yeeaa!!! Space is the place!! Goin’ down that highway Mean Gene. But don’t be hypnotised, no! Reincarnation doesn’t have to be, you can concentrate! But the beat goes on. Let me tell ya somethin right now… Yea. The Honky Tonk Man is outta line, yea! Cos I am the greatest Intercontinental Champion that ever lived. And I am the greatest professional wrestling champion that ever lived! And I’m livin’ now, yea!! Uh-huh!! Well he says I can’t sing and I can’t dance. But I can make romance!! Ooooh yeeaa!! Reached that fork in the road. I said go right, Elizabeth said go left. I went right. And then, then I understand what the situation is. When I crossed that bridge, I discovered I was on the right side, and I said Elizabeth follow me!! Yeaaa!!! Because I’m going straight to the top. To the stars, yea the stars!! There’s one star shining brighter, I’m talkin’ light years ahead!! Macho Madness yea! Macho Madness rollin’. You thought so, well I know so!! And Macho Madness is coming straight at you Honky Tonk Man!! Cos I’m on a roll, and I ain’t stopping!! Elizabeth!! Go right, I’m goin’ left………… No more questions!!!

 R.I.P. Macho Man Randy Savage. Dig it!!!!!!!!!!

Written by thepanch

June 11, 2011 at 6:35 pm

Posted in TV, Wrestling Musings

Sins Of The Father

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I used to find it hilarious when my father would viciously tear apart some TV show, radio show or a character on television. “Look at him, he’s an awful eejit.” “What is that are they for real?” “I don’t know about you, but I’d say he whistles when he p***es the big eejit.” Lately, I have found myself doing the same. But in my defence, there are a load of morons polluting the television these days.

The biggest culprit is The Only Way Is Essex. (ITV2, Weekdays). This show is the epitome of all that is wrong with what people define as “reality television” these days. I strongly believe that the producers have gone out of their way to create instant hate figures in on this show. Every single one of the cast, sorry real people are odious, obnoxious, spoilt brats. Half enhanced for television, half based in whatever they class as reality. Now, I am fully aware of the use of editing on “reality television.” And sorry to burst your bubble if you are a fan, but the only real action you see on a show like this are the presenters doing the links, or the opening VT. Television has morphed from something that gave pure joy and fantasy to a box that spawns nano-celebrities and fodder for tabloid papers and middle shelf magazines.

The Only Way Is Essex goes one step further than Big Brother and I’m a Celebrity. At least those programmes had some sense of being contrived and merely used for entertainment possibilities. This show features what is effectively a really badly written soap opera that belongs on a late night slot on Channel 4. But instead it takes up prime evening schedule space that could easily have been filled by a solid drama or movie. Thank God for Sky Atlantic.

A bastion of light for people who like to watch television programmes featuring that rare commodity called “actors” rattling off snappy dialogue, acting and generally being fully aware that they are in a created situation. Not duping the viewer into believing that they were not aware of the camera over their shoulder, waiting on them to open the front door. Ridiculous. Boardwalk Empire, Game of Thrones, Blue Bloods, Big Love, The Sopranos. All of which are great shows with shining examples of how television should be done. What else do they have in common? They are American. Yes, I know all the jokes about Americans but they make damn fine television. So what have we learned?

This celebrity obsessed culture we live in has done irreparable damage to television schedules, clogging them up with Kerry Katona, The Next Chapter (Please stop writing the book, Kerry, no-one cares), Katie, The Only Way is Essex, Peter Andre, Britian’s Got More Talent With A Pop Idol In The Jungle. Surely there’s a great show waiting to be written out there. Or do we have to look forward to a winter schedule that features:


Jordan Reads Wilde

Follow glamour model Jordan as she reads Wilde for the modern generation. Hear Katie interpret such classics as Wtn 4 Godot, D End Gme, and D Importns Of Bn Ernst. Featuring text vote to see the nation’s favourite.


Peter Andre Interviews Stephen Fry

The popular singer and muscled father quizzes Stephen Fry on what his favourite brand of crisps are and whether he is a boxer or briefs man.


Your Man From Big Brother 4 Sits On A Chair For Four Hours

Sky Digital Viewers can press red for four multi angles of the chair.

Let me assure you, he definitely “whistles when he p***es…..

Written by thepanch

May 14, 2011 at 8:07 am

Posted in Thoughts, TV

No, that’s just racist.

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Take your head. Take your head and bang it off the nearest wall. Done? That was quite painful wasn’t it? Well, if you were dumb enough to do it. Just like I was dumb enough to watch Katherine Lynch’s All The Single Ladies (Network Two, Sundays). And if I had have banged my head off of a wall, I probably would have gotten a far better feeling. Her list of “outrageous characters” include Shelia Chic. An inner city Dublin lady who has so much fake tan on, it is bordering on Minstrel territory. Yes, and this veiled racism is not helped by the fact that the character wears Indian garb. Before you jump down my neck, Katherine Lynch has not cleverly pointed out that some people in inner city Dublin are racist, she has not got the intelligence for that.  It’s not an ironic play on the issue of race, it is comedy of the lowest form. I use the term comedy loosely. I’ve had funnier kidney infections.

A couple of years ago, I was in a taxi in Dublin. And it was at the start of the influx of other nationalities entering our tiny island. I did not see the problem with this, and I still don’t. Because personally, I’m sick to the back teeth of pasty white Irish people complaining about everything and then sitting on their arses and letting the issue of their complaint simply soldier on, while they move onto another topic of contempt. Anyway, the taxi driver said, “Here, young fella, d’ya see them blacks d’ya. Yea, well let me tell ya somethin! Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not racist. I plays snooker with a few of em. Sound lads. But them blacks are gettin’ free socks.” Tenner for anyone that can spot the numerous times he contradicted himself in that sentence.

Tommy Tiernan, he of the controversial sentence type, recently got into a spot of bother about a joke he made which went as follows. “D’ya know the worst thing about bein on a bike? Flies dyin on your helmet. I haven’t had as bad a case of it since I rode an itinerant”. Now, I found the joke quite funny as the picture he painted with the use of words made me laugh. The visual imagery amused me. However, the moral right, as per usual, were not. I can see their point. But do none of these people watch Katherine Lynch? Singing Bernie Walsh??? Seriously????!!!!

It’s as if Lynch had a seance and channeled Bernard Manning, Roy Chubby Brown and Jim Davidson. This character is extremely offensive. Where were the moral right campaigning for the removal of Katherine Lynch and Lynch related products off of “our national screens?” I literally cannot believe she has been commissioned for a second season. This show is woeful on so many levels. I’d prefer to be chased through a park in the middle of winter by the aroused,  fully naked, knife-wielding bastard son of Ted Bundy and Rose West.

On a plus note, Shameless is back on Channel 4. And I can also recommend, if you haven’t seen it, Dead Set. A show written by Charlie Brooker about a zombie outbreak in Britain. To which the Big Brother housemates on eviction night are totally oblivious. Cracking stuff. Oh and before I go, Katherine Lynch? That’s just racist.

Check out both Shameless and Dead Set on Channel Four’s wonderful internet service. 4OD.

Written by thepanch

February 15, 2010 at 9:04 pm

The Execution Of Gary Glitter

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There are certain things that I can remember seeing  on television that blew my tiny mind. These include the return of The Ultimate Warrior at Wrestlemania VIII, seeing Michael Knight fly over a lorry in K.I.T.T., The Demon Headmaster. And in more recent years, Tony Soprano being shot and left for dead by his own uncle, Family Guy, the what if it actually happened scenario of nuclear explosions in Threads. Each of these moments made me realise that television can alter your outlook on things, and make you feel something powerful inside. Feelings of wonderement, joy, sadness, confusion, anger, hate and more.

The Execution Of Gary Glitter (Channel 4) made me feel a lot of those same emotions. I am aware that it was shown last monday, but I was gigging and forgot to Sky Plus. Silly boy. However, in a glorious decision by Channel 4 and YouTube, they have agreed to show full episodes and series of their most poplular output. You can watch the documentary here.

Seeing as the show is not recent, and most of you have probably seen it, I won’t do an indepth review. All you need to know is it is set in an alternative Britain where the death penalty has been reintroduced. And the first victim of the Capital Crimes Against Children legislation is one Paul Francis Gadd. Writer, director and producer, Rob Coldstream has crafted a nice documentary. It deals with both the public’s and Glitter’s reaction to the reintroduction of the law.

Glitter is played very convincingly by Hilton McRae. Almost eerily so. And he plays him as a creepy, self-deluded, unaware of able to see any wrong in what he has done character. A paedophile. The last ten minutes is possibly the best, dealing with Glitter pacing up and down the cell awaiting that long final walk.

I won’t say I enjoyed it. It’s hard to enjoy a show that deals with the mock execution of a man. However, it did, like those memories mentioned above, cunjure up strong feelings. Feelings of anger and hate. And for that, this television show did well.

Written by thepanch

November 22, 2009 at 7:48 pm

“It were shit, but it were good…..”

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Bullseye (Challenge, Ch. 125, Sundays, 12 a.m.).  A simpler time on TV, and in general, life itself. Now, before you freak out, I am aware I am a mere 25, a quarter of a century years old. But in my short time on this planet, I have seen many cultural shifts.  But for now, let’s focus on the unbridled joy that was Bullseye.  Granted I was born in ’84 and the show was three years old by then, and I didn’t start watching it til I was six, in 1990. But I remember the sheer joy of seeing normal people enjoying themselves and throwing darts to win money. They were rewarded for skill, simple barter system, really.

On watching the re-runs, and ignoring the cheapness of the show (the most I’ve ever seen won was £700), that joy still shines through. First off, from the host, Jim Bowen. A stand up comedian, (after a stint as both a binman, and then a Head Teacher). His humour was the sort of end of the pier stuff, that still appeals to me. He doesn’t have the smackability factor of Vernon Kay, or the shiny breasts of Holly Willoughby, but a quick wit. Imagine if your uncle was a television host. My favourite one liner being:

“Now Steven you used to be what weight? Seventeen stone. Well done on the loss, you only look around thirteen stone now.”

The referee was Tony Green. Who let’s be honest looks like Elvis’ overweight father with that quiff. The contestants always were decent people, with no f****ing back story. Think about it, have you ever heard someone on Bullseye say, “Well, Jim. I wanna win this speedboat for my dead dad, who before he died, had all his limbs chopped off by Nazi Zombies, after they killed his dog?”. No,you didn’t. It was always Steve, a plumber from Stevenage, or a butch woman in stone clad denim. “Had a right good day, Jim…”.

That back story issue brings me, not as smoothly as I hoped, but nonetheless unto The X-Factor  (ITV). And similar “talent shows” such as Search For A Tranny Who’s A Granny, Can We Find A Male Chav That Washes? and The Saddest Back Story Should Probably Walk It. None of those shows exist in actuality. Well, until I assume power, at which point the following people will be shot:

Piers Morgan.

People who high five in public.

Anyone that has had any association, talks about, even thinks about Genesis.

Anyway, back to the point at hand. The X-Factor. I’m sorry, but let’s look at the “talent” they’ve produced. That stuttering, Beatle song-murdering, Jordan-botherer, Gareth Gates. Will Young. A man so bland, I half expected his middle name to be “Grey Face Flannel”, Ray Quinn, a butch lesbian trapped in a Liverpudlian teenage boy’s body. I could go on, but I won’t. They’re all shitcakes. Each and everyone of them.

Talent shows in the early 70’s and 80’s actually discovered talent. Talent that are mostly still around, working today. Lenny Henry is still packing ’em in. He was discovered on New Faces (ITV). Jim Davidson was also discov…. On second thoughts, scrap that comparison. Davidson is a washed up, unfunny c*** that should have been brought to the knacker’s yard years ago. In fact the only time I want to see Davidson on TV is in my new show, Afghan Rebels Hunt Down And Kill Jim Davidson.

Any good talent that was discovered, was. And they got by on talent, sheer natural, sometimes unusual talent. They did not have producers backstage asking them things like, “Yes, John that was fine. Do you have any family members that have any terminal illnesses. Because, let’s be honest, who wants to see a talented, yet ugly man? You don’t. You’re wasting your time here.”

So, please if you must watch X-Factor, think of this. You see a disfigured person, or a three legged dog in the street. Do you put on the kettle, make a sandwich and sit down to point and laugh? No, that’s disgusting. Who would do something as hideous? The ten million plus that watch The X-Factor. It’s a horrible, spiteful little Victorian freak show. And it needs to be stopped. Anyone have the number for Amnesty?

“That’s the Bullseye!”

Written by thepanch

September 7, 2009 at 5:35 pm